What is it about working on houses that we love so much? Why do we work with roofs, siding, windows, gutters, and doors? To most people, this job might seem like just a job, but to us, we are changing people’s lives.
So let us ask you this: What feels like home to you?
Take a moment and consider your answer. Are you picturing your house? A specific room? Perhaps you are thinking about your bed. There really is no right answer to this question.
Home can be whatever it is to you.
You see, the idea of home does not necessarily mean a house.
A house is somewhere that keeps us warm, somewhere we eat and sleep. It is where we store our things and where we come back to every night.
But is it home? It might be. Your definition of home can be whatever you want.
However, let’s change perspective for a moment. Let’s pretend to see the world through the eyes of a dog to better answer this question. This may sound silly, but play along and you’ll understand where we are going with this.
Let’s name this dog Fido, and we will start by seeing him as a puppy. He is just a small ball of fur, a few months old. He sits in a cage, trying to keep his sleepy eyes open as people walk by him constantly. Everything is an exciting blur, and the world seems so fascinating.
And then, a woman comes up to the cage and points. Fido sits up and looks at her. She has friendly eyes and a pretty smile, and when the cage is opened and Fido is picked up, he fits perfectly in her arms. He feels safe here and curls up against her, biting at her hand because he’s still teething.
This is their first meeting. Everything is just beginning.
Soon, Fido goes home with this nice lady to live in an apartment. It is just a studio apartment, but to Fido, it is huge compared to his cage. He runs in circles and chews on everything he can, and immediately decides that the big, person-sized bed is his instead of the little dog bed in the corner. This is fine. The nice lady doesn’t seem to mind.
Fido soon grows to be five times the size he was when he was first brought home. Either that, or everything else has gotten smaller.
The nice lady, who says her name is ‘Mama’ takes Fido everywhere with her. They go hiking and to friends’ houses and they are always playing with other dogs too.
Soon, some man named Jo starts visiting a lot. Although Fido is protective of his Mama, he quickly learns just why she adores this man so much. Every morning, Jo gets up early and takes Fido on a very long walk. By the time they get back to the apartment, Mama is always up and breakfast is waiting in a bowl on the floor. This routine is Fido’s new favorite!
After some time goes by, Mama starts to pack up their things into boxes. It is very confusing, but when she drives Fido to a much bigger apartment, he understands. There are more rooms. The place smells like it used to have a cat, but Fido chooses to let it slide. The cat isn’t here now and that is what’s important.
Jo is also here with boxes. This time, when he shows up, he doesn’t leave. He stays, and when Mama talks about him with Fido, she calls him, “Dad.” So, Jo has a new name and Fido has a dad!
Every night, Fido now sleeps between his parents, taking up as much space on the bed as possible because as a dog, it is his right. With two sets of arms wrapped around him, he’s never felt so safe.
One night, Mama and Dad come home with very big smiles on their face and Mama is wearing some weird piece of metal and a rock on her finger. Fido wonders why, especially because they don’t let him bring rocks inside. Then again, the rocks he tried to pick up are much bigger and have chipped his teeth in the past.
Mama and Dad start staying up late on the phone and planning some big event. When Mama is stressed during the phone calls, Fido crawls up beside her and she scratches her head. It always helps to calm her down.
Eventually, Mama and Dad go away for multiple days. Fido wants to be sad, but he gets to stay at one of his favorite people’s houses. When Mama talks to Fido about this nice lady, she refers to her as “Grandma.” A man named Grandpa lives with her. He is a very good listener and always does what she says, so Fido figures he must also be a pet. Fido loves Grandma. She always feeds him way more than he’s used to and gives him lots of bones. She also has a dog named Riley who is Fido’s best friend, and the two of them stay up through all hours of the night until Grandma finally walks into the room with her hands on her hips and says, “It is three in the morning. Bed! This is the final warning!”
This happens almost every night and there are always lots of final warnings. It often ends with the three of them sprawled across the bed and the man named Grandpa having to move onto the sofa because there is no more space.
When Mama and Dad come back to get Fido, his belly is much bigger and he’s happy and tired. Mama scolds Grandma for all of the treats. Grandma looks at Fido out of the corner of her eyes and smiles.
The bones will be their secret.
When Fido gets home, he notices that there are boxes again. Soon, Mama and Daddy pack all of his toys into a box, including his favorite stuffed lion with the foot he ripped off, and they move to a big place called a house. It looks closer to Grandma’s place than any home they’ve ever lived in. It has two other houses on either side of it. Mama calls it a “townhouse.”
Fido gets to run around in a fenced-in backyard everyday. He has a doggy door so he can let himself in and out, but Mama always locks in when it gets dark outside and says he can play in the morning. After a few weeks, Mama does something that only happens about once a year. She brings him a large bone and says it’s his “birthday.” Apparently, he is five today!
He wonders what five means. Oh well. Who cares? He has a yummy bone, and it’s even tastier than the ones Grandma gets him. When he finishes it, he can’t wait until next year.
But something else happens this year that is very strange. Mama’s belly starts to get bigger. Fido wonders if she’s been eating lots of bones too or just a ton of the good food that she gets that he’s not allowed to have (even though Dad always feeds him some under the table when Mama isn’t looking).
Before Fido’s next birthday, Mama is very, very huge now. One morning, Dad takes her out for a while, and in the afternoon, Grandma comes to get Fido and bring him to her house. He plays all day with Riley and kicks Grandpa out of bed at nighttime.
The next morning, Grandma goes out and comes home to show Fido a small shirt to sniff. It smells like a person he’s never met before. Grandpa and Grandma drive him to Mama and Dad who are waiting at their house. Mama’s belly is smaller, and she is holding something tiny in her arms that is wrapped in a blanket. It smells like the little shirt and its name is apparently Lucy.
Lucy grows fast and she is loud, but Fido likes her. He protects her. Plus, she always throws mushy carrots on the ground for him to eat despite the fact that Mama doesn’t like it when he licks it up. “Fido!” she always admonishes, but it doesn’t stop him.
He and Lucy are a team. When she starts crawling, he lays beside her and copies her movements. The two of them crawl around the house. She throws toys and he does the same with one of his. It’s a fun game and Dad records it on the thing called a phone.
A birthday goes by and Fido gets another bone. The following year, Mama brings Fido a bone and says he is seven. Lucy sings something to him but she is still hard to understand. Mama’s belly starts to get bigger again.
Fido wonders if another Lucy is coming. However, this time, when Grandma keeps him for a night and he gets to smell a shirt, Mama and Dad bring home a different kind of baby. This one is a boy named Samuel. He cries a lot more than Lucy did at his age and he doesn’t like when Fido licks him across the face. Fido doesn’t know why. Lucy likes it! She always giggles when he does it.
When Mama brings a bone home and tells Fido he is eight, his tail wags like crazy. Lucy says, “Happy birfday!”
Samuel throws some smushed pees on the floor for him to eat and Mama tells Fido to leave it. He does not leave it.
The next time Mama and Dad pack up boxes, Fido has just turned nine. Samuel can walk and Lucy talks non-stop. Mama’s belly is big again. She says that they need more space.
This house is much bigger than the last, even bigger than Grandma’s, and Fido loves to run from room to room exploring. There are no houses on either side of this one, so he is allowed to bark louder. His barks stopped scaring Samuel long ago anyway.
Mama and Dad bring home another baby called Maya. It is a girl like Lucy. The house is very loud with three of them, but Lucy and Fido always stick together for safety from the younger two.
Dad still takes Fido on a long walk every morning. Mama takes him on another before she goes to work for the day. In the afternoon, after something called school, the kids come home and they and Mama walk Fido all around the neighborhood. Maya is in a thing with wheels called a stroller. Samuel holds Mama’s hand, and Lucy holds the leash. Fido knows not to pull when she is the one walking him. He is very gentle.
Mama brings home a bone one day and says Fido is eleven. He doesn’t know what that means, but the bone is yummy. That night, Lucy draws a picture of her house and says she will bring it to school. Fido thinks about all the places he’s lived, all of his houses. Which one was the most like home to him?
He thinks about the tiny studio apartment he was first brought to and then the bigger apartment he lived in with Mama and Dad. He thinks of their first house and of Grandma’s house that he still goes to for sleepovers. He thinks of his current house where he switches off between Mama and Dad’s bed and Lucy’s bed throughout the night.
All of their arms make him feel safe.
He realizes what home truly feels like to him.
When Mama first picked him up from his cage, he was at home. When Dad came along and Fido began to sleep between him and Mama every night, he felt even more at home.
When Grandma gives him bones and Riley bites at his ears, he feels he is at home with loved ones.
When Lucy came along for the first time, his heart felt full and he had never felt so home in his life.
When Maya tugs at his fur and Samuel screams for his milk in the morning, and Lucy eats her cereal, Fido lays by all three of his kids’ feet and feels at home.
This is home.
They are his home.
When he’s with his people, he is home.
So again, we ask you, what is home? Is it the house we live in? Where do you feel the most at home. Where is your safe space? Or, who is your safe space?
Just like Fido, we at C3 American Exteriors believe that home is where your people are. This is why our dream is to help you fix up your house. These are the places you live with your people. We know these structures aren’t home, but we do our best to make a safe space for you to live, for you to bring your home.
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